Baltimore County Announces New Funds for Schools, Expands Support for Restaurants

Amid a national surge in COVID-19 cases, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski yesterday delivered an update on the County’s ongoing response to the pandemic, committed $11.5 million in CARES Act funding to provide supplies directly to Baltimore County Public School principals to help them prepare for eventual reopening, and provided details on the County’s latest efforts to expand direct relief for restaurants.

Maryland today reported 1,338 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. This is the seventh consecutive day of 1,000-plus daily new cases since the first cases were reported on March 5.

According to a County press release:

The rate of cases in Baltimore County increased by 90.7 percent from October 23 to November 7, with 20.4 cases per 100,000 residents. Over the same time period, the positivity rate increased by 71.4 percent, to 4.8 percent.

While hospitalizations have not yet matched previous highs, the number of County hospitalized COVID-19 patients has increased by 153 percent from October 7 to November 7.

“As the weather turns colder and people are spending more time indoors, it is critical for residents to recommit to social distancing and wearing masks—two simple actions that can significantly reduce the spread of the virus,” Olszewski said. “If we fail to take responsibility for our own actions, we are risking our own health and the health of our family, our neighbors, and everyone in our community.”

$11.5 Million for BCPS Principals to Support Safe Reopening

While the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19 continues, Olszewski today committed $11.5 million in CARES Act funding to provide supplies directly to Baltimore County Public School principals to help them prepare for eventual reopening.

The County will leverage existing supplier relationships to secure and distribute personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitizing products, air purifiers, and other equipment or supplies that will help ensure that school buildings are safe for students, educators, and staff. Principals will be able to acquire supplies directly from the county, up to $100 per student.

“We all want our kids and educators back in the classroom, and while currently we’re seeing a concerning increase in cases nationwide, we are doing everything we can to make sure our school buildings are prepared for the eventual safe return to in-person instruction,” Olszewski said.“ These funds will support our school-level administrators as they work to identify and address their unique needs.”

Baltimore County will be coordinating directly with BCPS principals later this week to develop orders and requests for these additional safety supplies.

Restaurant Relief

In the latest effort to support Baltimore County’s restaurant industry, Olszewski also announced new plans to complement Baltimore County’s existing restaurant grants using additional funds provided by the state.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Larry Hogan recently announced that the state will provide county governments with a total of $50 million to support direct aid to local restaurants and foodservice businesses. Counties must allocate all funds by December 31, 2020.

Baltimore County will distribute Restaurant and Food Service Grants in two phases.

In the first phase, establishments who have already received grants through the County — which were available up to $15,000 — will receive an additional $15,000 state-match to enhance their efforts to keep patrons and staff safe. Eligible establishments will be contacted directly by the County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development in the coming days.

The second phase will make grants of up to $30,000 available for restaurants that have not yet received previous grant funding from the County. Applications for Restaurant and Food Service Grants will begin on Monday, November 16, at 9:00 am.

According to a County press release:

An application portal for these Restaurant and Food Service Grants will be available in the coming days and funds will be available on the Department of Economic and Workforce Development webpage. This is the latest effort from Baltimore County to support small businesses impacted by the severe financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The County has already made millions in grant funds available to:

Read the full press release for more information.